Question #4: What is your “As-Is” status?

May 9, 2016 by ESPI

Before you can determine if a new information system is the right path for your organization, you need to assess where you are today. In the systems application industry, this exercise is called an “As-Is” analysis and it will be the cornerstone of your system selection process.

What an “As-Is” analysis should reveal:

  • Who has access and what do they do?
  • What are the workflows and processes?
  • How much time is involved in tasks?
  • What causes delays?
  • What information is actually in the system?
  • Does information exists outside the system on ancillary spreadsheets, databases, books, etc. and why?
  • How does the information get shared?
  • What is the quality of data?
  • How often is this information entered?
  • How is it verified?
  • Where is the data stored?
  • How is it backed up?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the drawbacks?
  • What are the measurements and key performance indicators?

Can this be done internally? Sometimes, but many small to mid-sized companies usually do not have the capacity or skill sets to address what system(s) are right for them. Larger companies usually do have an IT staff but they may be too entrenched with the current processes to review them objectively.

This is often a point when companies will bring in an outside systems application expert who has no vested interest in a particular information system or vendor. They will give you unbiased recommendations based on your needs and criteria, not based on a sales quota. By employing this partner in all initial stages of the evaluation process you can leverage their expertise and knowledge towards the final selection and eventual implementation.

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Question #5: What is the future-state of your business?

May 9, 2016 by ESPI

The last step before the software review and selection is to define how your business will run in the future. Having a cross-functional team comprised of Decision Makers, Business Process Owners (BPO), Subject Matter Experts (SME) and your external consultant will facilitate this forward-looking discussion.


During this process you will have an opportunity to identify which of the “As-Is” processes are truly adding value and which are not. You should eliminate the non-value items from the future-state plans. Again, this is an important place to understand and integrate what your customers are asking for. Integrating the “voice-of-the-customer” in your business processes now can give you a competitive advantage moving forward.
Once you have a proposed future-state document, have everyone, including the company’s leadership, approve the future-state document to confirm all stakeholders are 100% committed to implementing a better system.
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Vendor Selection

May 9, 2016 by ESPI

After answering questions #1-5, you are now ready to identify & select the right system. Here are the next series of steps:


  • Develop a detailed RFP outlining your business, your processes and your plans.
  • Begin with selecting 5 to 6 vendors and provide each with the same RFP.
  • Select vendors that have strong financial standing and are investing an adequate amount of money into research and development to continue upgrading their products.
  • Based on their responses to the RFP, select 2 or 3 for on-site demonstrations. The on-site demonstration should not be just a sales pitch. It should be a customized demonstration of a ‘day-in-the-life’ of your business using their system. Because of the “As-Is” analysis and future-state exercises, you have provided the information they need to create the demo.
  • During the demonstration you should use common quantitative evaluation criteria to score and rank the capabilities of one vendor against the other.


After the demonstrations, follow up with the vendors and clarify your questions and any doubts about their ability to meet your needs. Once you are satisfied they can meet your needs, ask for references and site visits to check-out installations that are similar to your situation.
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Set Up Reduction

April 19, 2016 by ESPI

In this series we will discuss Set Up Reduction in a Four (4) Stage Method.  Starting with the underlying concept and moving to Stage 1 – Identify, Stage 2 – Reduce and Convert, Stage 3 – Streamline, Stage 4 – Optimize.



Set up Reduction is defined as: Quick Changeover Time.  That is the time between the last good piece of one production run and the first good piece of the production run after the changeover.

Set up Reduction is a Lean Manufacturing tool that supports manufacturing products after a customer order is received.  It eliminates or reduces non-value added activities in all types of process setups to quickly change from one product to another. This will lead to reduction in batch sizes and shorten lead times eliminating the expense of excess inventory.


  • More frequent changes
  • Smaller batches
  • Lower inventory
  • Better quality
  • Less waste
  • More Flexibility
  • Improved teamwork
  • Less STRESS!!!



The goal of Set Up Reduction is for reducing waste in a manufacturing process. The idea is to analyze and provide a more rapid and efficient way of changing a manufacturing process from running the current product to running the next product. This rapid changeover is key to reducing production lot sizes and thereby improving flow.  This is largely achieved by first classifying each setup step as either Internal or External (Internal steps are those done while the process is inactive and External steps are done while the process is operating).  Next is to convert the Internal steps to External steps. If we want to reduce the time the process is non-operational, we need to reduce the time associated with the process being inactive. The quickest way to achieve this is to do as many of these steps as we can while the process is operational.



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